(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- A pack of hyenas killed two children and injured six other members of a family when the animals attacked in the middle of the night.
The Kenya Wildlife Service is airlifting one of the survivors, a 10-year-old boy who was mauled in the attack last week, to a hospital in the capital city of Nairobi to get better medical care.
“The boy’s condition has since deteriorated,” said the KWS, which is assisting the family and paying for their medical care.
The family was attacked on July 10 near Dilmanyale village while sleeping inside their traditional family compound, called a manyatta. The KWS said it took immediate action to prevent further attacks by the aggressive animals.
“Rangers pursued and eliminated the hyenas,” the KWS said in a statement.
Hyenas are most commonly known as scavengers that eat the remains of dead animals left by other predators, but as this incident demonstrates, they can also be bold and powerful hunters.
According to the African Wildlife Foundation, hyenas can weigh up to 190 pounds, and despite their reputation as “laughing” cowards that usually go after the easiest prey, they can be quite dangerous.
The nocturnal hunters are coming into conflict with humans more frequently as the human population increases in Africa. In some places, especially where they have attacked livestock, hyenas are heavily hunted as pests.
The KWS said its rangers are working in the community near the recent attack to educate people about ways to prevent conflict with hyenas and other wild animals.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio